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Item# 35058   $25.00  Add to cart   Show All Images   Download PDF
Veteran's Badge "Yelnya, the Birthplace of the Soviet Guards", circa 1970s-80s.

Aluminum, paint, lacquer; 43.2 x 30.1 mm. Features a Guard's badge in the center, black-and-orange Guards ribbon along the edge, and a laurel branch. The inscription reads "Yelnya, the Birthplace of Guards". The reverse shows maker mark САЗ ("SAZ") of the Smolensk Aviation Factory (which had a production line for pins and badges.) The badge is in excellent condition.

Yelnya, an important district center in Smolensk Region of western Russia, was captured by the Germans within a month after the commencement of Operation Barbarossa. In one of the earliest Soviet co

Aluminum, paint, lacquer; 43.2 x 30.1 mm. Features a Guard's badge in the center, black-and-orange Guards ribbon along the edge, and a laurel branch. The inscription reads "Yelnya, the Birthplace of Guards". The reverse shows maker mark САЗ ("SAZ") of the Smolensk Aviation Factory (which had a production line for pins and badges.) The badge is in excellent condition.

Yelnya, an important district center in Smolensk Region of western Russia, was captured by the Germans within a month after the commencement of Operation Barbarossa. In one of the earliest Soviet counteroffensives of the war, it was then wrestled back by the troops of the Soviet Western Front under the command of the ruthless but effective General Zhukov - later to become the famous marshal and conqueror of Berlin. The early success against a German bulge was short-lived and cost enormous losses, but it was used as a morale booster by the Soviet propaganda. The August operation also took heavy toll on the Nazis and further upset their timetable for the advance to Moscow. The city was recaptured by the Germans once again in October 1941, at the early stage of their Operation Taifun (Moscow offensive.) It would be liberated by the Red Army once again in the summer of 1943, after the Battle of Kursk.

Four of the Soviet divisions that temporarily liberated Smolensk back in August 1941 - namely the 100th, 127th, 153rd and 161st Rifle Divisions - were among the first in the Red Army to be promoted to elite Guards status. Thus began a tradition that continued throughout the war. The badge was apparently issued to one of the veterans of these first Guards divisions, possibly to celebrate an anniversary of the creation of the Soviet Guards.
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